Aronberg Goldgehn Obtains Judgment on Behalf of ERISA Claimant


Aronberg Goldgehn attorneys James Christman and Benjamin Haskin obtained summary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, on behalf of a former physician who filed suit under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to recover unpaid disability benefits from the plan fiduciary.

The physician had experienced a serious eye injury that caused him to apply for long term disability benefits with the plan fiduciary. The plan fiduciary granted his application for disability, but calculated long term disability benefits using a productivity formula that drastically decreased the physician’s salary. The physicians’ administrative appeal was denied, leading to the filing of the federal lawsuit to compel the plan fiduciary to calculate his disability benefits based upon the salary he had been receiving at the time he suffered the event of disability.

The federal court reversed the plan fiduciary’s salary calculation, finding that the employment contract did not permit an adjustment based upon productivity until the completion of the quarter in which the disability occurred, while the benefits plan required that long term disability benefits be calculated based upon the actual salary the physician had received on the day prior to the disability. The physician-plaintiff was awarded full restitution, including the back-pay of disability benefits, prejudgment interest and attorney fees.

CLICK HERE to view a copy of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, Memorandum and Opinion.

About James Christman

Jim Christman counsels clients and litigates on their behalf in matters related to contracts, commercial disputes, fiduciary duty, professional liability, director liability and officer liability. He also works extensively with physicians and physician groups on healthcare and regulatory matters. He is a Fellow in the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers to which membership is by invitation only and is comprised of less than one percent of the lawyer population in any given state.

About Benjamin Haskin

Ben Haskin represents an expansive range of businesses in complex commercial litigation. He has litigated breach of contract claims, enforcement of restrictive covenants, shareholder derivative suits, and labor and employment cases. He also represents commercial lenders in Uniform Commercial Code and bankruptcy matters. He actively engages in settlement negotiations and alternative dispute resolution, while he has also successfully litigated cases in state and federal court as well as before the Illinois Appellate Court.

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